André Bauchant (1873 – 1958)
The desert scene was a rather unusual motif for André Bauchant, one of the most renowned naive artists in France. He mainly painted landscapes, flowers and portraits in addition to Biblical and mythological scenes. During the First World War he had served in an intelligence unit, where his detailed terrain sketches attracted attention. After being demobilized he began to paint alongside his job as a gardener. One year before he painted this picture Bauchant was represented with 16 paintings at the famous Paris Salon D’Automne (Autumn Salon). Critics praised the works, and they attracted the attention of such famous artists as Le Corbusier. The architect became a passionate collector of Bauchant’s works, which soon achieved international renown. The Clemens Sels Museum Neuss owns three more works by Bauchant, among them “The Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan.” While Jesus is shown standing up, John kneels on a raised position on the riverbank, holding his hand directly over Christ’s head to carry out the baptism. This unusual modification of an often painted motif is once again evidence of André Bauchant’s great artistic creativity and independence.